Asteroids are whizzing by us quite often. Many of them come closer to us than our own moon! This should be pretty alarming! We’ve been hit by asteroids before and we’ll be hit by them again. The question is, will we be prepared when the time comes? Funding for the research and development of anti-asteroid/comet technology is extremely important! No matter what you believe about what we need fixed here on the surface of our precious planet, none of that matters if we allow an asteroid come and wipe us all out!
The theory of a large planet lurking somewhere far past Neptune has been around for a while. But just recently scientists have found some real evidence for its existence. They say there are objects in the Kuiper Belt that wouldn’t move they way they do if that planet was not there. The alleged planet is so far away that we can’t see it from here, so who knows how long it will be until we can capture a picture of it, assuming it even exists!
Real or not, how do you think Pluto feels about everyone already calling this mysterious object a planet? 😉
NASA’s New Horizons craft has been travelling for 9 years and will be arriving tomorrow (7/14/15) at Pluto! NH will just be doing a fly by before it heads further out into the Kuiper Belt. Int he mean time, we have been getting some WONDERFUL shots of Pluto, and finally figuring out he has a bit of a reddish color (previously I colored him purple in the comic. That’s changed now).
This is super exciting and I hope you are all watching New Horizons as closely as I am!
We have a lot to thank Jupiter for. Our biggest planet is not just pretty to look at, it stands in the way of a lot of possible threats to us. Jupiter’s mass creates a gravitational pull strong enough to fling comets and other objects back out of the solar system and away from us.
One of example of this was back in 1994 when Jupiter took the brunt of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which got caught in its orbit.
But don’t give Jupiter all the praise just yet. That same gravity that saves us could also, one day, turn a comet or asteroid towards us.
But for now, let’s just thank our stars that Jupiter is out there protecting us!
(Or, if you’re in a destructive mood and want to see how Jupiter could possibly destroy us all someday, you can go read this: Could Jupiter Wreck the Solar System?
A total lunar eclipse happens every time the Earth comes in between the Sun and Moon and the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow. Instead of the moon becoming completely dark and disappearing from the night sky, the light of the sun is bent and filtered by the Earth’s atmosphere shining a red glow on the moon. Think of it as every sunrise and sunset happening on the Earth at that moment coloring the moon! Because of its red hue during a total eclipse, it’s been called a Blood Moon.
Total lunar eclipses are more common than total solar eclipses and are visible to the entire side of the Earth it’s happening for, while total Solar Eclipses are only visible for a tiny area on Earth.
The next total lunar eclipse is happening next week for much of the Western Hemisphere and some of the easternmost parts of the Eastern Hemisphere. For more info on how you can see that click HERE.
We have a relatively bright comet (relative to most comets viewable to us) in our skies currently. Comet PANNStars has been giving most of the Earth a little bit of a show just after sunset. Later this year we may be treated to an incredible sight as comet ISON threatens to be as bright as, if not brighter than, our moon.
Comets are chunks of ice and rock that orbit our sun. Many come from the Oort Cloud located beyond Pluto. As they reach the inner solar system and approach the sun, the ice starts to melt and the gases react with the sun’s solar wind and creates 2 tails, one of gas and one of dust, which extend behind the comet away from the sun.
The comets out there take anywhere up to 30 million years to orbit the sun one time, which is why most comets we see are once in a lifetime for us. So whenever there’s a good one out there, you’re going to want to take the opportunity to get a good look at it!
More info about comets can be found HERE.
Later on today (or early tomorrow morning if you’re in Europe like me) the Mars Curiosity Rover will complete its eight month journey to Mars and land on its surface in preparation to learn more about our dry neighbor, mainly if life has ever existed on the red planet. Until now, three rovers have successfully landed on Mars, this will be the Fourth. (positive thinking here, people)
Only one of the three existing rovers continues to function and send data back to Earth. In addition to the now defunct robots, there several some crash landed remnants from failed missions. With all of this equipment just laying around, perhaps Mars is collecting it all and doing something with it. You never know 😉
Today, July 11th 2012, scientists announced the discovery of a fifth moon orbiting Pluto. We all know that the great Neil deGrasse Tyson “killed” Pluto (or was, at least, an accomplice), and the amount of moons a celestial object is nor a deciding factor in when deciding if it’s a planet or not. As an example, Earth has one moon, Saturn has around 60 moons and Venus has none. The truth is that Pluto hasn’t cleared its orbit yet, meaning that it shares its orbit with other bodies and isn’t the dominant body in that orbit.
Poor Pluto is so desperate to regain his old title, however, that he’s hoping ANYTHING can bring him back to his old status. 🙂
First, if you’re as excited about the transit of Venus as I am happening this week, then you may want to show it with your iPhone or iPad with the Venus Transit wallpapers I made! You can find them in the blog below. Or click HERE.
Chances are, if you live in an area where the Venus Transit will be visible, then you’ve heard a LOT about it. Why is it such a big deal? Well, it’s not going to be the most spectacular thing you may ever seen, but it is one of the rarest. The next transit of Venus will not happen for another 105 years. So, chances are, this will be the only chance you get!
To read all about it check out THIS site. It has all the info you need on where and when it will be visible, and how you will be able to view it.
For me, I’m just hoping that the typical cloudy June weather here in Sweden will cease for just that morning! I have solar glasses ready and waiting!